e-Mail Marketing the Right Way: Provide Value

email marketing[This is a guest contribution by Zachary Zawarski of Zadling]

I don’t subcribe to many e-mail newsletters, but if I do choose to opt into your e-mail list, you better make sure that you’re doing one thing: providing me with value.

We all know that e-mail marketing is a great way to produce sales for your website, but many business owners make the mistake of using mailing lists purely to push their products and services. That is the wrong way to conduct e-mail marketing.

Continue reading “e-Mail Marketing the Right Way: Provide Value”

How Facebook Does E-mail Newsletters II

Does Facebook roll you the welcome mat?

In October 2009, we analyzed an e-mail newsletter from Facebook titled Ads Manager Announcement that was directed to the  Facebook Ads users. This newsletter is a great example of how to implement permission marketing, how to avoid the brochure mentality, and how to do seamless product placement.

Below is a snapshot of another newsletter release for Facebook Ads users on January 19, 2010:

Continue reading “How Facebook Does E-mail Newsletters II”

4 Steps to Get Started on Email Marketing

On early December 2009, a marketing intern at a Fortune 500 contacted me via LinkedIn and asked me how to get started on e-mail marketing. While responding to his message, I realized that it would be a good idea to share it with the readers of idaconcpts.

The first step is to get acquainted with the tenets of permission marketing and how to apply them to create permission-based e-mail marketing campaigns.

Continue reading “4 Steps to Get Started on Email Marketing”

How Facebook does E-mail Newsletters

On 10/23/2009 Facebook sent out an e-mail newsletter titled “Ads Manager Announcement” to its Facebook Advertising users.

This newsletter is a great example of how to implement permission marketing, how to avoid the brochure mentality, and how to do seamless product placement.

Continue reading “How Facebook does E-mail Newsletters”

Are you deceived by your email campaigns?

Measuring the success of your permission e-mail campaigns is often oversimplified.  Marketing managers are often happy to see rising open rates and click-through rates. (If you have no idea on how to measure the click-through rates of your e-mail campaigns, here’s an easy tutorial using Google Analytics). The problem of being content with just measuring open rates and click-through rates from our e-mail campaigns is that we are victims of the brochure mentality.

What’s the problem with the brochure mentality?

The brochure mentality is the mindset that tells us that as long people get our brochure, open it and browse it for a while; somehow they will get “aware of our brand” or that they will “eventually act on it”. Notice that how exactly the readers of a brochure become aware of the brand or act on it is not really defined, it is just left to, yes you got that right, pure chance.

I am sure that newsletter services and talented newsletter writers will challenge the above statement. But think about it for just a second. When discussing with a graphic designer or an e-mail newsletter, how often do you discuss about the actual objective of your e-mail campaign defined in one sentence and whose success can be tracked with one simple measure?

I am not talking about how many people click on your “read more” link or how many people open your “Labor Day Blowout Sale!” e-mail. I am talking about how many people actually end handing you cash in exchange for the product or service that you offer.

Let’s take a look at what Avinash Kaushik has to say on this (Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, p. 220):

Before you start your analytics, it is important to understand, at least at a high level, that there several important steps to the process of executing e-mail campaigns:

  • Define business objectives and how e-mail fits into them.

I just quoted the first step out of 4 to emphasize the importance of this concept.  If you’re a frozen yogurt shop, are you in the business of selling frozen yogurt or are you in the business of making people open e-mails? If you’re a humane society that protects animal rights, are you working hard towards increasing the number of people adopting stray dogs or are you working hard that people click on a YouTube video of a sad dog looking for a home?

Before jumping into e-mail (and social media, for that matter) campaigns, you’ve got to have a clear idea of what objectives you want out of it. A clear one sentence objective that can be tracked with one measure.

Here are some great real life examples that I have encountered during my online marketing practice:

  • Bake shop: Sell my daily excess inventory of red velvet cupcakes, about 14, before they spoil.
  • Online coupon service: Generate 5 paying customers during a week.

Not so fast, monkey!

There are several e-mail newsletter services that work great (e.g. MailChimp), but before you sign up for any of them,  do your homework. Even though some offer free trials, hold off signing up for them until you have figured out your one sentence objective whose success can be tracked with one measure.

Helpful Links:

A Guide to Permission Marketing

For more info, check out:
  1. E-mail Permission Marketing: It Works!
  2. E-mail Permission Marketing Fundamentals
  3. How to Measure the CTR of Your E-Mail Permission Marketing Campaign with Google Analytics

A Guide to Permission Marketing

Permission E-mail Marketing Polling with LinkedIn Polls

Since February 2009, I’ve been talking about permission e-mail marketing here at idaconcpts.com because it turns regular e-mails into personal, relevant and anticipated messages.  An important part of the work of online marketers is polling because it provides greater insights to our questions and allows us to have better, more educated decision-making.

I have used Surveymonkey in the past and it works great but I have found that LinkedIn Polls allows polling to become more personal, relevant, and anticipated.


linkedin pollsLinkeIn Polls is one of the applications that LinkedIn launched in October 2008 and as all of these applications they are free but require you to have a registered account with LinkedIn.

To access LinkedIn Polls you need to first add the application to your LinkedIn profile:

LinkedIn_ Home

Creating a LinkedIn Poll is very simple and intuitive:


You can submit your poll to either your 1st degree connections or a target audience of professionals in the U.S (this option is free for premium subscribers).  I would recommend to stick with the first option (targetting your first degree connections) because this makes your poll personal (“Hey Mike can you take a loot at this?”), relevant (“Susan, your input is important to me because I know your expertise in marketing while we worked together), and anticipated (Linkedin is a site for networking!).

An important caveat is that LinkedIn Polls is only as good as your networking power is already at LinkedIn.  However, don’t believe that I’m just talking about having several contacts, I’m also referring to the number of groups and associations that you belong to in LinkedIn.  If you’re active in several forums, you can get a lot of responses, and more importantly long threads of valuable qualitative data.

If you do have lots of contacts, LinedIn Polls has made it easy to segment by location and/or industry:


One of the most attractive feature of LinkedIn Polls is that it makes segmentation of your poll results a snap.  It provides attractive bar graphs by job title, company size, job function, gender, and age.




One could easily argue that LinkedIn Polls needs options for cross-tabulation ,like Surveymonkey does, and further options for segmentations, but I strongly believe that this application is a great way to gather data fast and to create actionable bar graphs that you can e-mail to your colleagues.  More importantly it follows the fundamentals of permission e-mail marketing by making polls more personal, relevant and anticipated.

E-mail Permission Marketing Fundamentals

Thank you for the response via e-mail and comment post at idaconcpts.com about last week’s post regarding E-mail Permission Marketing.  If you’re still interested on the free copy of the first 4 four chapters of Seth’s Godin Permission Marketing, please e-mail me at damian [at] idaconcpts [dot] com.

So, you’ve created a great product or service and you have users lining up to register online for your product  or service so they can use it.  You have provided the option to received personal, relevant, and anticipated messages; and guess what? they are choosing to do so by clicking on the checkbox!.  Excellent! You cannot believe that people are interested in you and you  send out your first e-mail…and…now what?

This week I’m going to discuss, the basics of the “now what”: the E-mail Permission Marketing Fundamentals.

Let’s take a look at what Avinash Kaushik has to say on this (Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, p. 220):

chinese-question1Before you start your analytics, it is important to understand, at least at a high level, that there several important steps to the process of executing e-mail campaigns:

  1. Define business objectives and how e-mail fits into them.
  2. Identify core criteria for e-mail campaigns (what, why, how, when, and so forth).
  3. Create and execute campaigns (mine your e-mail list, scrub it for do not contacts, create the right text or other type of offering, and send it to your e-mail vendor).
  4. Analyze your campaigns.

Email analytics can focus on both ends of this process:  defining objectives and criteria as well as campaign analysis.

As you can see, planning is 90% of any e-mail permission marketing campaign.  You cannot expect results, if you don’t have an idea of what good results are.   The most important part is that you have to figure a return-on-investment (ROI) for obtaining 1 unit of your desired goal (e.g. one download of a software, one download of a flyer on how-to-stop smoking, one call to one 1-800 number, one view of a blog post, etct).  That’s the ultimate goal that you want to set up first before anything.  How much are you willing to spend in order to get 1 unit of your desired goal?  Once you set that goal, write in 60 font size, print it out, and hang it somwhere visible in your working space.  This will guide your overall e-mail permission marketing campaign.

However, before getting to the specifics of calculating the ROI, we need to establish the fundamental metrics.  Remember, walking before running.  In the case of an effective permission e-mail, you can only have up to 2 goals, for example:  a) click here to learn more about my great website, b) click here to download my great free mp3, c) click here to make an appointment, etc.

The funnel strategy of your permission e-mail is that people:

  1. Actually receive your permission e-mail.
  2. Open your permission e-mail.
  3. Click on the link you want them to click.

In order to track these results, you will need the following metrics.  Kaushik suggests that you use an e-mail vendor, however I will assume that your operation is pretty small and does not exceed a couple thousand e-mails.  At that level, there are only a couple fundamental metrics that you need to worry about.

  1. Number of e-mails sent
  2. Number of opened e-mails
  3. Number of bounced e-mails
  4. Number of unsubscriptions ( You MUST provide this option! Remember that we are doing e-mail permission marketing. No permission = no e-mail.)

chinese-smartsWith these metrics you will determine:

  1. Delivery rate = (number of e-mails sent – number of e-mails bounced) / number of e-mails sent
  2. Unsubscribe rate = number of unsubscriptions / number of e-mails delivered
  3. Open rate = number of opened e-mails / number of emails delivered
  4. Click-through rate (CTR) = number of clicks / number of e-mails opened

That’s it, nothing more, nothing else, to get started.  I believe that even with little or no experience, you should be able to calculate everything except the CTR.

I will disccus the specifics of setting up the measurement of CTR with Google Analytics on the next post.

Thank you for your time.